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The new Google Hangouts in Gmail option seems interesting, and while it shows my most recent contacts, most of them aren't online (some never are because of the Google account they use). Can I sort them by their online state, as the old chat does?

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I sure hope they're working on that. It's hard enough to see the thin-green bar underneath the online users' profile pics. –  bigp Jun 2 '13 at 14:55
    
looks like they don't have that option...lot of ppl have asked this and nobody knows how to. –  Manoj Jun 10 '13 at 7:35
    
There are a lot of features missing from Gmail Hangouts right now. Show online only is one, "Off the record" is another, deactivate smiley auto-replacements is another, and so on. The best answer is going to be a non-answer: Wait, or switch back to Talk/Chat until Hangouts is feature complete enough for you. –  Christopher Harwood Jun 23 '13 at 0:46
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No. A Google employee I know told me the following: "the idea is to free you from worrying if the person you are talking to is on mobile, on a tablet, in front of a computer, etc, and instead give you one channel by which to communicate."

For those of us who like to know exactly which friends are on mobile (or even online at all) this is a big step backward, but it is the direction Google wants us to go.

Your best bet is to run a multi-IM client like Pidgin or EBuddy, which has more flexible display options, and switch to Hangouts when your friends are ready to video chat.

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protected by Community Jul 23 '13 at 3:45

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